Arteezy / Monster Energy

Evil Geniuses throws in Singapore Major finals, iG wins it all

Invictus Gaming is the ONE Esports Singapore Major champion.

China's top seed entered the tournament on somewhat shaky footing after a mediocre month spent competing in a variety of tournaments. But when the stakes were highest, the team stepped up and took the Singapore Major championship at the expense of Evil Geniuses in dramatic fashion. The team took the title in a 3-2 series, but iG members weren't quite sure how to handle the championship belt that served as the event's trophy.

Evil Geniuses looked poised to lock the series up in very short order. A pair of strong showings from Artour “Arteezy” Babev propelled Evil Geniuses to a pair of simple wins, with Evil Geniuses taking over the late game in game one and running away with an easy victory in game two.

The series was set to close with a sweep in game three, but a string of overly aggressive plays from Abed “Abed” Azel L. Yusop saw a 15,000 gold lead evaporate. The third game closed on a taunt from Zhou "Emo" Yi that fired up his team and left fans laughing.

Game four was neck and neck throughout the early and mid game, with Invictus Gaming getting the edge in kills while Evil Geniuses farmed more effectively. Once the late game kicked in, Emo’s Ember Spirit and Jin "flyfly" Zhiyi’s Troll Warlord took over as the duo scored a pair of team fight wins to take the net worth lead and spearheaded a game-ending team fight. Just like that, Invictus Gaming was threatening a reverse sweep.

Evil Geniuses felt the pressure in game five and it showed as the team pushed for a frantic early game with fights aplenty. Invictus Gaming actually got the better of those engagements, but the mid-game kicked off with a huge team fight win and Roshan kill for Evil Geniuses. Looming over this was flyfly’s Spectre, a ticking timebomb that forced Evil Geniuses to keep the pace high regardless. 

When Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang’s Enigma twice failed to find the mark on Black Holes it allowed Invictus Gaming to take a small net worth lead at the start of the late game. That lead grew with an aggressive team fight win behind Evil Geniuses’ tier-three towers that seemingly left the North American team feeling desperate. 

By the time iceiceice found his first good Black Hole, Invictus Gaming was too tanky to kill. This led to a climactic team fight loss that wrapped the series 3-2 for Invictus Gaming.

Evil Geniuses now has a second-place curse

Following The International 2015, Evil Geniuses had a supposed “third place curse” that saw the team fall in the lower bracket finals or semifinals in a host of events. They seemingly shook it after The International 2019, but have instead been afflicted by a second-place curse after stumbling in the grand finals of several events.

That made this loss to Invictus Gaming particularly brutal. Not only did the team make a number of errors to see the series decided, but it also let a quick victory slip away beforehand.

Evil Geniuses is still in a good position moving forward. The second-place finish in the Singapore Major is worth 450 points and that puts Evil Geniuses in a very strong position when it comes to qualifying for The International 10. Unless they make roster changes or completely punts the next North American Dota Pro Circuit League cycle, the team should be able to get a direct invitation to the season-ending show.

But for now, Evil Geniuses will need to lick their wounds and rebuild their psyche. And endure a lot of vicious mockery on social media.

Chinese Dota 2 dominates Singapore Major

Invictus Gaming didn’t just win the Singapore Major because of Evil Geniuses’ stumbles. The Chinese squad continued a very strong start to the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit season, beat a number of elite teams, and closed out the event in impressive fashion. Invictus Gaming wasn’t alone when it came to showing the strength of Chinese Dota 2.

Alongside Invictus Gaming, PSG.LGD finished in third place. Vici Gaming also had a strong showing in the group stage, albeit one that ended with a quick exit from the playoffs.

Though things weren’t perfect as Team Aster wiped out in the Singapore Major, the event reestablished China as the clear best region in Dota 2. Team Secret, the favorite to win the event, was ushered out in fourth place by losses to PSG.LGD and Invictus Gaming. Alliance, Team Liquid, and Team Nigma all failed to make much of an impact as the European region struggled as a whole despite its four seeds.

As with Evil Geniuses, Invictus Gaming is effectively a lock for a direct invitation to The International 10. The team also gets to flex on its regional rivals after picking up its biggest tournament victory since The International 2012.